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Fri Apr 25 08:30:47 SAST 2014

Pakistani Oscar winner launches anti-acid attack campaign

Sapa-AFP | 28 February, 2012 11:03
Directors Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (L) and Daniel Junge, winners of the Best Documentary Short Subject for the film 'Saving Face', pose with their Oscars during the 84th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 26, 2012.
Image by: MIKE BLAKE / REUTERS

Pakistan's first Oscar winner launched a campaign on Tuesday, hoping that her documentary about survivors of acid attacks can help eliminate a crime that disfigures hundreds of women each year.

Saving Face by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won the short documentary category at the Academy Awards on Sunday.

The film follows survivors in their fight to bring their attackers to justice and focuses on the work of British Pakistani plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad, who helped restore their faces and lives.

The team behind the documentary are using their website to launch a campaign designed to raise awareness about acid attacks, which can disfigure around 200 women a year in Pakistan, and to strengthen legislation against the violence.

"The film must be more than an expose of horrendous crimes, it must be a recipe for addressing the problem and a hope for the future," co-director Daniel Junge says on www.savingfacefilm.com.

Pakistan's parliament last year adopted tougher penalties for acid attacks, increasing the punishment to between 14 years and life, and a minimum fine of one million rupees ($11 000).

Obaid-Chinoy's mother, Saba, told AFP that the campaign was launched formally after her daughter won the Oscar, which had "provided her with a unique opportunity and strength to strive for her goal more effectively".

"The campaign is mainly aimed at making our society more humane and better to live. It is to help and remedy those who are victims of such brutality and injustice," she told AFP.

"Saving Face is uniquely positioned to advance awareness, education and prevention efforts," the website says.

The chairwoman of Acid Survivors Pakistan, which is a partner in the campaign, told AFP that the fight to eliminate the crime had only just started and that the outreach programme was designed to generate "systemic change".

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Fri Apr 25 08:30:47 SAST 2014 ::